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BYU design student and alum raise awareness and funds for Black Lives Matter

Sidney Fa’anunu and Eleni Trapp are using their design website not only to showcase their own art but also to raise awareness and money for Black Lives Matter organizations

Eleni Trapp and Sidney Fa’anunu have been friends for 12 years. Trapp graduated from BYU in 2018 with a degree in graphic design, and Fa’anunu is a current BYU illustration student and is minoring in political science. The two friends had joked before about creating a website together called “Miscelenious Squid,” based on their nicknames growing up, but they didn’t start seriously thinking about it until the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Around the time that Trapp and Fa’anunu started talking seriously about setting up their combined portfolio website, the killing of George Floyd was sparking protests across the country. Both women said they were concerned about racial tensions in the U.S. and wanted to do something to help. This prompted them to adjust their goals for Miscelenious Squid. “I remember sitting in my apartment feeling so useless. I couldn’t figure out how to participate in the protests that were happening here in Provo, and I wasn’t doing anything to help. I messaged Eleni to ask, ‘What if we use this thing that we keep talking about doing to make a difference?’”

Fa’anunu and Trapp decided to invite artists of all backgrounds to submit sticker designs to their website to be sold. Fa’anunu and Trapp are donating all of the funds from the stickers to various BLM support groups, such as Reclaim the Block and the Memorial Fund for George Floyd. So far, Miscellaneous Squid has raised over $2,000. “I’ve always tried to be politically active,” said Fa’anunu. “When the Black Lives Matter protests started, I had a strong emotional response to it all. I’ve always believed that in these situations I should defer to the experience of someone who has lived through it, so for me it was about giving a voice to minorities.” Many of the submissions have come from BYU design students and other friends of Fa’anunu and Trapp, but they’ve also been surprised by how many submissions and purchases they’ve received from outside the United States.

“It was so cool to see that everyone was so willing to jump on this and help,” Trapp said. “It’s been crazy. I was not expecting to have people from Australia, the UK, Thailand and China looking at our site, ordering stickers and donating art.” The women said they were grateful for the support of the BYU community, especially the Department of Design. The department put out a social media post informing students about the site and inviting them to participate. “I’ve always loved how the design department offered a space for discussion. It always felt like somewhere people could feel comfortable sharing different views. That’s one thing I really loved while I was at school there,” Trapp said.

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